Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Nancy Dishner

Committee Members

Elizabeth Ralston, Louise L. MacKay, Russell F. West


The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a relationship between college retention and completion and the number of college credit hours students earn before graduating high school. The number of credit hours a student earned was analyzed along with selected demographic characteristics and academic performance indicators to determine if any one of the variables was more of a predictor of retention and completion of college than the others. The data for the study (12,834 records) were obtained from the Student Information System from five Tennessee Board of Regents Universities.

An initial analysis of the data incorporated simple descriptive statistics in the form of frequency tables. Cross tabulation and chi-square were used to compare the gender and ethnicity population of dual/joint-enrolled students and nondual/joint-enrolled students. To determine if dual/joint-enrolled students had greater academic success than nondual/joint-enrolled students, a t-test for independent samples was used to compare high school grade point average, the standardized test score average, and first semester and last semester attended grade point average of the two groups. Chi-square was used to analyze if there was a difference in the retention rate and the time it took to obtain a four-year degree between dual/joint-enrolled students and nondual/joint-enrolled students. A one-way ANOVA was used to determine if the number of college credits earned while in high school had any influence on the time it took to finish a four-year college degree. Multiple Linear Regression was used to see if any of the variables could predict academic performance for a studentÆs first and last semester grading period. Discriminant Analysis was used to determine if any of the variables in the study were predictors of completing a four-year degree.

The researcher found that students who participated in dual/joint-enrollment programs had more academic success and a higher retention and graduation rate than those students who did not participate in such programs. The study also revealed that dual credit hours had a significant influence on time to completing a degree.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.